UFC 177: Why Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia Is the Fight That Must Happen

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2014

USA Today

To say Ronda Rousey has been a dominant UFC champion would be an amazing understatement. Rousey has been a force of nature, something you can barely even resist, never mind stop. She has dispatched legitimate high-level contenders like Sarah Kaufman, Sara McMann and Alexis Davis with a scary, robotic efficiency. 

Apr 26, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA;  Bethe Correia (left) lands a head shot on Jessamyn Duke during the second round  in UFC 172 at Baltimore Arena. Correia defeated Duke by judges decision.  Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

We have seen very few champions who have been as effortlessly dominant as Rousey. In fact, if she maintains her current pace, it would be hard to not compare her time in Strikeforce and the UFC to Anderson Silva's undefeated run from 2006 through 2012, Fedor Emelianenko's time in Pride or Jon Jones' reign as light heavyweight champion.

In such cases, it is easy to more or less check out on any given GOAT candidate. After all, why bother watching a competition when the outcome is all but guaranteed?

That said, every once in a while, a fight calls out on a more primal level. The ho-hum business of breaking limbs becomes personal.

It might come after months of smack talk. It might come after a controversial loss sullied a decade of dominance. It might come after a well-publicized brawl during what was supposed to be a nondescript media event.

For Ronda Rousey, it comes from her friends and teammates losing. In that way, Brazilian scrapper Bethe Correia has made herself a legitimate title contender, and the most intriguing opponent for Rousey.

During Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, the frosty relationship between Rousey and former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate became one of the ugliest rivalries in UFC history. While some fans chalked it up to alpha mentalities or even producer tampering, the true culprit was the simple fact that Rousey was emotionally invested in her team's success to a fault.

From vowing revenge against Tate for celebrating Julianna Pena's victory in the second episode all the way to stonewalling Ariel Helwani after the TUF18 Finale, she wore her love of Team Rousey on her sleeve. When the season's final order of business was reached, the rematch between Rousey and Tate was by far the most anticipated of Rousey's career. An even more motivated than usual Rousey tossed Tate around for three rounds before finishing her with an armbar, and the electrifying buildup and fallout made it one of the most entertaining fights of 2013.

Now, imagine if Tate wasn't just coaching young up-and-comers to victory over Rousey's charges. Imagine if she was beating them herself, and imagine if the jeers and taunting weren't fallacious inferences. 

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what Bethe Correia is. 

Competitively speaking, a Rousey vs. Correia fight would be almost comically lopsided, which says a lot considering Rousey knocked out a very game Alexis Davis in just 16 seconds. There's little reason to believe the outcome would be anything other than Rousey via merciless thrashing.

Still, the thought of what Rousey would be capable of after stewing in a cold rage for months is downright scary...and I want to see it. The fact that it would almost certainly be the most lucrative fight the UFC could put together for Rousey outside of a matchup with Gina Carano or Cris "Cyborg" Justino certainly doesn't hurt, either. While Cat Zingano and Holly Holm are interesting matchups for sure, there is little reason to believe they would be anything more than a light snack for the hungry champ. 

Correia's run for the title will almost certainly have a bad ending for her. Her journey toward second place, however, will be incredibly entertaining. You can't say that about almost any other potential opponent for Rousey.